Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary has ‘antidote for progressive dominance’

Hungary is "a laboratory where an antidote for progressive dominance has been developed", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his keynote speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which started in Budapest on Thursday. Referring to the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat parties' fourth consecutive election win, Orbán said the country "has been given the fourth dose, and I can report that the patient has made a full recovery".

Orbán said Hungary’s “formula against progressive dominance” was free for any other country to use.

The first point was to “play according to our own rules, because we can win only if we don’t accept solutions and routes offered by others,” Orbán said.

National conservatism is another key aspect, he said. “The national cause is not an ideology or a matter of tradition.”

Governments have to stand by their voters at all times, “which is why we decided to stop migration and build a wall on the southern border: Hungarians said they didn’t want illegal migrants”.

“Progressives want to force their pipe dreams on society, but people do not like leftist fever-dreams in important issues,” he said.

The third point, Orbán said, was abiding by national interests. “Hungary first, America first” — foreign policy should be defined by national interests, he said.

In the war in Ukraine, Russia is the aggressor, Orbán said. “We condemn the attacker and help the victim,” but Hungarians cannot bear the burden for the war as it isn’t their conflict, he said.

War brought about sanctions, rising inflation, stagnating economy and growing poverty, he said. Hungary’s interest is to restore peace rather than continue the war, he said.

At the same time, Orbán said modern Western media was a “sounding board” for leftist ideas. “We can only show the madness of progressive leftists if we have a media to help us,” he said.

A next step is to “reveal the intentions of our opponents,” he said. “We in Hungary make the left’s intentions public before they even do it.” That is what happened with “LGBTQ propaganda targeting children”, Orbán insisted. “This is a new thing here, but we brought it to light and held a referendum on it,” with an overwhelming majority of Hungarians rejecting the sensitising of children, he said. “By unveiling their intentions ahead of time, we put the leftists on the defensive, and ultimately they had to admit that this had been their intent all along,” he said.

An economy benefitting people by providing jobs and opportunities “to get ahead in life” is another key aspect of “any right-wing government, we are doomed to fail if we cannot provide all that,” he said.

A centrist attitude is key to keeping voters, Orbán said. “By peddling conspiracy theories, we may gain popularity on internet forums … but we will distance the majority of our voters, get sidelined and ultimately lose,” he said.

Faith is essential, Orbán said. “If one doesn’t believe in a final accounting and that they will have to account for their deeds before God, they will feel they can do anything they have the power to do.”

Meanwhile, politicians also have to find friends, he said. “If we want to get by in politics, we always have to look at what we have in common with others, rather than our differences.”

By the same token, conservative politicians cannot be successful without functional communities. The smaller the community and the lonelier the people, the more will vote for the liberals, he said.

Institutions built to survive individual politicians will “stay with us for generations” and renew politics, he said.

Orbán called 2024 a “decisive year”, which will see a presidential and congressional elections in the United States and a European parliamentary election in Europe.

“These two scenes mark the two fronts of the battle for western civilisation,” Orbán said, adding that “neither of the two are yet in our hands, though we need both”.

“We have two years to prepare,” the prime minister said.

“The Hungarian lesson is that there is no magic formula to apply, there is only work,” he said.

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